View Full Version : I can't paint in oils

Adam Black
03-04-2007, 05:32 PM
Man, this is frustrating.

I can draw in pencils, pen & ink, watercolors, chalk, crayon, airbrush...everything but oils. This goes for real life as well as ArtRage.

I'll sit down and work up a sketch on a separate layer in AR, then try to do it in oils. Hours later, it's a mess, I'm frustrated and ready to sell my Wacom tablet.

I'll delete the layer with the oils on it, and do it (let's say) in chalk. Turns out great in a fraction of the time. So I'll hide that layer, and do it again in marker, or crayon, or anything as long as it's not oils. Turns out fine every time.

It's just the oils that get me.

I'm wondering if anyone here can give me some sort of general pointers for painting in oils. I realize this is a very vague request, but I really don't know who else to ask.

I think the big part of my problem is that I'm used to defining forms with lines, not tones or blobs of colors built up from dark to light (which is what I'm told you do with oils). That doesn't explain how I can do just fine building up blobs of color with chalks or crayons, though. I'm very confused.

I also think in lines and shadows, not colors. A decade or two of illustrating for books has made me so I think almost exclusively in black and white. I have a hard time making any oil painting "pop" as a result. I just don't get how the colors work together, although I have at least four "here's how to mix colors, you dolt" books sitting within arm's reach. They just don't make any sense to me. It seems like a lot more work than just inking it in, you know?

So, if you have any sort of practical advice, I'd sure love to hear it. Because this is driving me positively nuts.

03-06-2007, 02:06 PM
I think you just got to learn now to let go. Play with the paint. Try paining outside the lines as it were. art is fun! it's about throwing colour around and who knows maybe some of us here will like the messes you make!

03-06-2007, 05:48 PM
Hi Adam, I agree with you, the oil brushes can be a little tricky to use. Setting the brush loading, pressure and thinner amounts make a difference in how the paint is applied. With thinners set low the brush lays down gobs of paint and when set high the paint lays down thinly. As you brush over an area that you already painted the colors will blend.

With auto clean set to off, the existing color will mix with the new color on the brush and you will have a new color until you dip the brush into the water glass. With auto clean on you get clean paint each time you touch the brush down. It will still mix with the existing color. The longer you hold the brush down on the canvas the more you blend with the other color.

If you set insta dry to 'on' the new color will not blend with the color ubderneath. It covers it. You can then blend this somewhat with the knife.

Best advice I can give is keep trying different things. The oils are nice because you can do a lot of blending with the brush or the knife and get some great effects. Hope this helps. Joe

Adam Black
03-11-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks for the tips! Yeah, I just need to sit down, relax, and goof around with it a little, I think. Stop thinking about the end product, and just see what happens.

Won't be for awhile, though...I just landed an AWESOME art gig.

Can't say much now. I'll be able to talk about it next month, though. :D

Life is very, very good right now. Oh, yeah.